December 01, 2019


Dear Auntie,

I desperately need your help. I am a well-established professional and started liking a colleague a month ago. I am convinced that it’s not infatuation. She works in the same department and shares assignments with me so I frequently interact with her. She’s three years older than me and has never been married. On the other hand, I got married four years ago and have a baby.

My colleague is good-looking, foreign qualified and confident. I am not even sure that she likes me. It is just that I interpret few observations in my favour. Sometimes I think that due to my arranged marriage, I could not develop an ideal understanding with my wife. However, at the same time, I don’t want to hurt my family.

I have brilliant self-control so nobody notices anything but deep down inside I feel devastated. Being a mature, sensible and well-settled individual, I thought I’d sort things out myself but I have failed miserably.


Dear Devastated,

Since you started liking your colleague only a month ago, your feelings can be safely called an infatuation. And the best way to stop an infatuation is to put some distance between you and the person, or just wait for your feelings to die down.

‘I’ve fallen in love with a colleague but I’m married with a child’

You say that you do not want to hurt your wife, which makes me wonder whether you are planning to act on your crush? Here’s a suggestion: close your eyes and visualise telling your colleague that you really like her. Imagine her reaction (since she doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, the human resource department could classify this as harassment if she complains). Next visualise telling your wife that you are in love with your colleague and imagine her most likely reaction. See what happens? A fantasy like this is only good when it remains a fantasy. When you try to make it real, the real-world repercussions are far from pretty. In fact, they are downright painful. So it is a good idea to refrain from acting on your impulses, just like you have been.

Now is the time for some deep introspection. Intense, obsessive crushes like yours are less about the person you like and more about you. Ask yourself what these feelings are giving you that you are not getting from elsewhere. Is your fantasy a guilty but pleasurable escape from the humdrum of real life? Is the fantasy drawing your attention to something that’s missing in your relationship with your wife? How have things changed since you’ve had a baby? How has that affected your relationship with your wife? In introspection lies the key to untangling yourself from this crush.

If you can put some distance between you and your colleague without your work getting affected, it is strongly recommended that you do that. If you are not married to your job, you could even consider changing your workplace if things don’t ease up for some time. At the same time, please try to understand your feelings. Yes, married people do fall in love with other people and leave their spouses for them. However, it usually takes a lot longer than a month of crushing on someone confident and pretty.

At the same time, cultivate your relationship with your wife and child and increase your communication with them. Whenever you find yourself wishing your wife was someone more confident or prettier, remind yourself that you only see the dressed and made up version of your colleague at work. Your colleague probably also has plenty of personality flaws which will annoy anyone who marries her. Also, deep down inside, your wife could also be crushing on someone. She’s human and it’s a possibility.

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Published in Dawn, EOS, December 1st, 2019